Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Reading Envy 181: An Awkward Woman with Yanira Ramirez

Yanira is back and we are talking reading goals, especially the classics, and reading our backlists. We talk about books we've read and liked recently, with a brief interlude tribute to interlibrary loan. Make sure to check out Yanira's previous appearances on the podcast, since this is number five.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 181: An Awkward Woman with Yanira.

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Books discussed:



Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Planetfall by Emma Newman
Anti-Social by Andrew Marantz
Tracks by Louise Erdrich
Incidental Inventions by Elena Ferrante


Other mentions:

#erdrichmedicinereadalong sponsored by @erins_library and @thunderbirdwomanreads in Instagram
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
After Atlas by Emma Newman
Four Souls by Louise Erdrich
Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner


Related episodes:

Episode 070 - Words Like Weapons with Yanira Ramirez
Episode 096 - Not Without Hope with Yanira Ramirez
Episode 108 - Venn Diagram with Yanira Ramirez 
Episode 127 - The Sadness Between Books with Bianca Escalante 
Episode 141 - Profound and Tedious Work with Yanira Ramirez


Stalk us online:

Yanira at Goodreads
Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy

Friday, February 14, 2020

Review: Virtuoso

Virtuoso Virtuoso by Yelena Moskovich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's taken a while to know how to talk about this book. In some ways it scratches the same itch as one of my favorite novels (Black Wave by Michelle Tea if you somehow haven't caught me going on about it) - 90s, lesbian subculture, slight moments of surrealism and fantasy - but also the story moves around in time as little pieces are revealed, and much of it is in fragments, which usually works for me. All main characters are female, some are from the newly dissolved Czechoslovakia and struggling with identity, and it all starts with one character finding her wife dead in a hotel room....

Please, more people need to read this so I can discuss it!

I had a copy of this from the publisher and it came out last month.

View all my reviews

Review: Track Changes

Track Changes Track Changes by Sayed Kashua
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An unnamed Palestinian narrator, originally from Tira, travels home in a rush to be with his father during his passing. As the reader you know he is hesitant to be back, and you get the sense it might even be dangerous, but it takes a while for those details to unfold.

The narrator also has an interesting job where because of his language and writing skills, he is hired by others to write their memoirs or biographies. What people don't seem to catch is how he writes details of his own life into their stories, and as he does those memories seem to leave him. He also has a difficult relationship to his wife, who is a tenure-track professor in the United States. .
I previously read Second Person Singular by this same author for my book club, and it was more humorous. The publisher describes this one as more personal to the author's experiences.

I had a review copy from the publisher through Edelweiss, and it came out January 14, 2020.

View all my reviews

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Reading Envy 180: Readalong Announcement

We have read some great books together over the last few years. For the first Reading Envy Readalong of 2020, we will be reading The Odyssey by Homer, as translated by Emily Wilson. I talk about it oh so briefly on this micro episode, and there are links and more information below. We commence February 16th! I will be doing a combo of reading the hardcover and listening to the audio.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 180: Readalong Announcement.

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Book links:



The Odyssey by Homer, as translated by Emily Wilson (Hardcover)
The Odyssey by Homer, as translated by Emily Wilson (Paperback)
The Odyssey by Homer, as translated by Emily Wilson, narrated by Claire Danes (Audible)


Readalong links:

Reading Envy Readers (Goodreads Group)
Please use #readingenvyreadalong when you post about it in social media so I will catch it!


Readalong Schedule:

It looks like the (Emily Wilson translation at least) has 24 books plus a lengthy introduction. I'm a weirdo who saves intros for last so my schedule will reflect that.

February 9-15: Acquire book
February 16-22: Books 1-6
February 23-29: Books 7-12
March 1-7: Books 13-18
March 8-14: Books 19-24
March 15-21: Intro, maps, catch up
March 22-28: Readalong discussion (recorded for podcast episode, specific date TBD)

This looks like a lot of pages every week but what I've learned in previous readalongs is that momentum tends to be better with larger chunks for most readers. I have allowed for a catch-up week before our final discussion. Last year we had no group discussions and I really missed it, so we will definitely do that this time. It's not required but the more the merrier!


Related episodes:

Episode 090 - Reading Envy Readalong: East of Eden with Ellie and Jeff
Episode 099 - Readalong: The Secret History
Episode 118 - Reading Envy Readalong: To the Bright Edge of the World
Episode 137 - Reading Envy Readalong: The Golden Notebook
Episode 157 - Joint Readalong of Gone with the Wind with Book Cougars
Book Cougars - Joint Readalong of Sapphira and the Slave Girl

Stalk me online:

Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Reading Envy 179: Think of the Bees

Courtney is a listener who contacted me to chat books on an episode (you can do this too!) She talks about herself as a reader, including a unique book club, and then we talk about books we've read and liked recently - three are fantastical and two are far more realistic.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 179: Think of the Bees with Courtney.

Subscribe to the podcast via this link: Feedburner
Or subscribe via Apple Podcasts by clicking: Subscribe
Or listen through TuneIn
Or listen on Google Play
Listen via Stitcher
Listen through Spotify


Books discussed:



A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
The Islanders by Christopher Priest
If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin
The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2018 edited by Sam Kean



Other mentions:



The Missing by Sarah Langan
The Hunger by Alma Katsu
The Deep by Alma Katsu
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
Annihilation (film)
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
Let Her Fly: A Father's Memoir by Ziauddin Yousafzai
Fashion is Freedom by Tala Raassi
Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
The Deep by Rivers Solomon et al
Pet Sematary by Stephen King
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
The Kingkiller Chronicles
The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2019 edited by Sy Montgomery
Caitlin Doughty
The People of the Mist by Kathleen and Michael Gear
Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente
Flags in the Dust by William Faulkner


Related episodes:

Episode 115 - Quote, Unquote with Scott Eaton
Episode 167 - Book Pendulum with Reggie
Episode 172 - The It Book of NYC with Jon Laubinger 


Stalk us online:

Courtney at Goodreads
Courtney is @conservio on Litsy
Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Books Read January 2020: 1-30


Pictured: This month's 5-star reads

1. How to Feed a Dictator  by Witold Szablowski ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
2. A Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier, translated by Romy Fursland ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
3. The Rib Joint: A Memoir in Essays by Julia Koets ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
4. The Madonnas of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse, narrated by Robert Ramirez, Luis Moreno, Alma Cuervo, Alyssa Bresnaham, Jonathan Davis, Tony Chiroldes, Florencia Lozano, Annie Henk ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  (Hoopla audiobook; my review)
5. Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett, narrated by Jesse Vilinsky ⭐️⭐️⭐️  (Hoopla audiobook; my review)
6. The Innocents by Michael Crummey ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
7. Tender Cuts by Jayne Martin  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  (eARC from publisher; my review)
8. The Kids Are in Bed by Rachel Bertsche ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (eARC from publisher in Edelweiss; my review)
9. Gentleman Jack by Anne Choma ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (print galley from publisher; my review)
10. If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin, narrated by Bahni Turpin ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Audible audiobook; my review)
11. Every Other Weekend by Abigail Johnson ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
12. This One Looks Like a Boy by Lorimer Shenher ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (print galley from publisher; my review)
13. 33 Simple Strategies for Faculty by Lisa M. Nunn ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (borrowed; my review)
14. Guapa by Saleem Haddad, narrated by Fajer Al-Kaisi ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Audible audiobook; my review)
15. Nonbinary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity edited by Micah Rajunov ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (print galley from publisher; my review)
16. Tracks by Louise Erdrich ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (library copy; my review)
17. Cleanness by Garth Greenwell ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
18. Flags in the Dust by William Faulkner ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (personal copy; my review)
19. Planetfall by Emma Newman, narrated by Emma Newman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Audible audiobook; my review)
20. A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (interlibrary loan; my review)
21. Night Theater by Vikram Paralkar ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
22. Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (library book; my review)
23. WWJD and Other Poems by Savannah Sipple ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (print galley from publisher; my review)
24. Optic Nerve by Maria Gainza, translated by Thomas Bunstead ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (print galley from publisher; my review)
25. The River Gods by Brian Kiteley ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (library ebook; my review)
26. Paper Girls Book One by Brian K. Vaughan ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Hoopla ebook; my review)
27. Four Souls by Louise Erdrich ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (library book; my review)
28. All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Kindle ebook; my review)
29. Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
30. The Antidote for Everything by Kimmery Martin ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (eARC from NetGalley; my review)

Total Books Read: 30

Audiobook: 5
eBook: 14
Print:  11

Borrowed (other than library): 1
Galley: 16
Library: 8
Personal Copy: 5

Goal - Author List: 4
Goal - Middle East 2020: 2
Goal - TBR Explode: 2

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Reading Envy 178: Precarious Pile with Ruthiella

Ruth joins Jenny bright and early in January, which gives us the chance to discuss reading goals for last year and this year a little, reading classics, and what happened when a friend dared Ruth to read a book! This is the first episode of a new strategy where Jenny is bringing two books to discuss to the guest's three, so feel free to let me know what you think.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 178: Precarious Pile with Ruthiella.

Subscribe to the podcast via this link: Feedburner
Or subscribe via Apple Podcasts by clicking: Subscribe
Or listen through TuneIn
Or listen on Google Play
Listen via Stitcher
Listen through Spotify


Books discussed:



Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee
Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddney Ratner
Inland by Téa Obreht



Other mentions:

Ruth's Booked for LIfe blog and her 2019 Back to the Classics roundup
Ruth's Booked for LIfe blog and her pile of 21 books 
Books and Chocolate Blog - Back to the Classics 2020 challenge
Man Booker Prize 1999
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
The Topeka School by Ben Lerner
The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht
How to Feed a Dictator by Witold Szablowski 
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope
A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum


Related episodes:

Episode 033 - An Undulating Thrum with guests Ruth and Elizabeth
Episode 053 - The Pool I Rarely Swim In with Luke Christie
Episode 086 - The Queen of Bailing with Shawn Mooney 
Episode 067 - Rain and Readability with Ruth(iella)
Episode 134 - A Pastiche Romp with Ruth(iella)
Episode 167 - Book Pendulum with Reggie
Episode 172 - The It Book of NYC with Jon Laubinger 


Stalk us online:

Ruth at Goodreads
Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy